Our best bets for every NFL Week 2 game

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

September 17, 2022 11:41 PM
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After a wild Week 1, it’s on to Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season.

Throughout the season, our VSiN experts will combine to give their best bets on every game. Check back for our best bets for the two Monday night games as we get closer to kickoff.

Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Thursday night.

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5, 44.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Femi Abebefe: This is an interesting spot between two AFC teams coming off of Week 1 wins. When you do a deep dive into the box scores of each victory, you’ll learn that neither the Dolphins nor Ravens were particularly impressive.

Miami’s win over New England was aided by winning the turnover battle 3-0. Baltimore hit some big plays for touchdowns but struggled to consistently run the ball (3.0 yards per rush against the Jets).

I don’t want to throw around the F-word (as in fraudulent) when describing these teams, but my overall takeaway is that, as of now, both are a little smoke and mirrors. So with the line being more than a field goal, I had to take the points in what should be a close game Sunday.

What led me to settle on the Dolphins is the Ravens injury report, which continues to serve as a thorn in their side. Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) is unlikely to play for a second consecutive week, and the team has a cluster of injuries brewing in the secondary, so I don’t see the Ravens winning by margin.

Pick: Dolphins + 3.5

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-6.5, 39.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Wes Reynolds: Although not the largest underdog in Week 2, the Jets might be the ugliest. They did outgain the Ravens 380-274 last week, but they ran 26 more plays from scrimmage (79-53) and Joe Flacco threw a whopping 59 passes. Still, the Jets only mustered nine points. 

The Browns-Panthers box score shows that Cleveland was the better team last week — and better by a wide margin in the first half — yet it needed a 58-yard field goal with :08 left to escape with a victory. The Browns defense allowed only 261 yards but 214 of those yards came in the second half. 

While the Jets are clearly one of the NFL’s worst teams, Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett has been a favorite of 6 points or more only once in his career. Last week, Brissett completed 18 of 34 passes for just 147 yards and a TD as the Browns running game carried him. The Jets defense is solid at stopping the run. 

Pick: Jets + 6.5 

Washington Commanders at Detroit Lions (-1, 48.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Danny Burke: The Lions are done streaking! After 24 consecutive games as an underdog, Detroit is finally a favorite (though the number was as high as 2.5 and is now down to 1.5 at most shops and even 1 at DraftKings).

Call me crazy, but I’m buying in on Dan Campbell’s squad this week. Did Jared Goff look good in Week 1? Meh, not really. He had a poor interception and ultimately needs to do a better job targeting his receivers. But you already knew that. So let me tell you the actual reasons why I like Detroit.

D’Andre Swift. He is a dog (the good kind). Swift was able to manage 144 rushing yards on just 15 carries last week. And he should be able to have success again this week against a Commanders defensive front that looked vulnerable against the Jaguars offensive line (which is much worse than the Lions’). Plus, the Commanders are still missing Chase Young. 

If this Lions offensive line can give Goff enough protection and time, Goff can make the necessary passes and limit the turnovers and Swift can work his magic on the ground. 

Speaking of turnovers, how about Mr. Turnover himself — Carson Wentz. Yeah, he threw four touchdown passes and ultimately got the win last week, but he had two ugly picks that should’ve cost his team the game (except they were playing against the lowly Jaguars). The Lions won’t let Wentz get away with that this week. 

The Lions had high expectations entering the season and come into this game ticked off after a 38-35 loss to the Eagles. They got off to a poor start last week but battled back aggressively and efficiently, which is enough to show us that Campbell has his boys fighting to the end.

Pick: Lions ML (-130)

Dave Tuley: The Lions were getting dominated by the Eagles, but like they did so many times last year, they battled back and got the back-door cover as 4-point home dogs (they were 3-13-1 SU last season but among the best bets in the league at 11-6 ATS). 

However, they’re now in the role of favorites and I’d have to pass for anyone thinking of laying the short number. The Commanders rallied to win and cover in a 28-22 win versus the Jaguars as Carson Wentz (27-for-41, 313 yards, 4 TDs) spread the ball all around, but it wasn’t impressive enough to get me to call for the mild upset here. 

However, I think it’s a solid bet to tease the Commanders up over a touchdown as I don’t see the Lions as a team that’s going to run up the score on too many teams. This looks like a one-score game. 

There are a lot of teams that go through key numbers in a two-team, six-point teaser with the Commanders, but I’ll go with the Saints as my top choice. 

Pick: Commanders + 7.5 (widely available)/Saints + 8.5 Teaser.

Indianapolis Colts (-3.5, 45.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: The Jaguars are still a work in progress, as we saw some good things and some bad things coming out of their game against the Commanders. They had 6.2 yards per play but also squandered a + 2 turnover advantage. They went just 3-for-12 on third down while allowing the Commanders to go 7-for-10. They also managed just two touchdowns in five red-zone trips.

The NFL is a league of execution in those important situations and the Jaguars weren’t up to snuff in many of them. Neither were the Colts, who scored two touchdowns on five red-zone trips themselves. The Colts at least escaped with a tie, but they clearly won the box score and played better than the final result would indicate. They more than doubled the Texans in yards but were stopped inside the 5 on downs, failed on first-and-goal inside the 5 and had two turnovers in plus territory. Rodrigo Blankenship also missed what would have been a game-winning kick in overtime.

Obviously the 20-3 hole the Colts dug themselves wasn’t great, but they were easily the better team laying a touchdown on the road. Is Jacksonville three points better than Houston? Maybe, but the Colts showed enough last week to make this a bet at a cheap price.

Pick: Colts -3.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5, 44.5) at New Orleans Saints

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: The Buccaneers defense came to play in a big way on “Sunday Night Football,” but the offense looked out of sorts. The Bucs had five possessions in the second half — not including a kneel-down at the end of the game — with three punts, a pick and one touchdown. The Bucs only mustered one touchdown on 11 drives against a Cowboys defense that wasn’t all that great last season but forced enough turnovers to hide some flaws.

The Saints were one of many road favorites that turned it up in the fourth quarter last week, erasing a big deficit to score a one-point win. They had a strong offensive performance with 6.8 yards per play, including a huge Taysom Hill run. They also went 3-for-3 in the red zone and Jameis Winston hooked up with Jarvis Landry seven times for 114 yards.

At + 2.5, the Saints are an excellent teaser leg to put with the Commanders, the Bengals and maybe even the Steelers, though the T.J. Watt injury is a big concern. We have a low total here with a Bucs team that doesn’t look ready to win by a significant margin and a Saints team that a lot of people liked entering the season. 

I’ll pair up the Saints with the Bengals in a two-team, six-point teaser with each team crossing through the key numbers of 3 and 7.

Pick: Saints + 8.5/Bengals -1 Teaser

Carolina Panthers at New York Giants (-1.5, 43.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Wes Reynolds: Baker Mayfield was unable to exact revenge on his old mates from Cleveland and his Carolina debut was choppy (16-for-27, 235 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 fumbles but none lost). I can chalk that up to being too amped up against the franchise that gave up on him and playing in his first game with new center Pat Elflein. Offensive line issues were rampant in Week 1 and Carolina’s was one of the lines that struggled. 

Meanwhile, the Giants played much better in the second half after a poor start last week and are riding high after a comeback victory in Tennessee. They were good road underdogs under Ben McAdoo and Joe Judge and continued that trend in Brian Daboll’s debut. 

However, this is a spot where the Giants have struggled: The G-Men are 0-10 ATS in their last 10 home openers. Last year, they beat the Panthers 25-3 as 3-point home underdogs. They are laying only 2 at most shops this time around, but that’s still a 5-point adjustment with two teams that were considered pretty even in the betting markets last season and entering this season. 

Picks: Panthers + 2 (widely available) and Panthers + 8/Saints + 8.5 Teaser

Ben Wilson: Media outlets have been playing Brian Daboll celebration videos on a never-ending loop this week, but perception is vastly different from reality. 

Supporters of Daboll and the new-look Giants will point to a road performance that saw the team finish with 6.8 yards per play (tied for the third highest in Week 1) and rack up 394 yards over 12 drives. But one game is a very small sample, and those numbers hide what was an otherwise erratic and disjointed showing from a young offense. 

The G-Men picked up 166 of those 394 yards on three chunk plays off of blown assignments by the Titans defense: runs of 68 and 33 yards by Saquon Barkley and a 65-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to Sterling Shepard. While the Giants deserve some credit for those plays, the 4.1 YPP (which would’ve ranked 29th in Week 1) on the Giants’ other 55 snaps is a much better reflection of their offensive performance against the Titans.

On the flip side, Baker Mayfield couldn’t have looked much worse in the first half of his Panthers debut: four punts, an interception, multiple dropped snaps and 13 total yards across the team’s first five drives. Matt Rhule all but admitted that Mayfield might struggle in Week 1 with his new team, especially against a Browns defense projected as a top-15 unit. After the brutal start, Mayfield completed 12 of 15 passes with two total touchdowns and zero turnovers. 

In a typical case of Week 1 overreaction, I’m not nearly as sold on the Giants as the betting market seems to be after one game, while I also believe the early struggles for Mayfield and the Panthers aren’t a predictive indicator of long-term performance.

Pick: Panthers + 2 (widely available)

New England Patriots (-2, 40.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: I’m trying not to be biased here as the Patriots really let us down in their no-show against the Dolphins while the Steelers came through for us in their upset of the Bengals. 

However, the Steelers showed us they can win now with Mitch Trubisky in the post-Big Ben era as coach Mike Tomlin always has his team ready (the same can usually be said of Bill Belichick and he’s always tough off a loss, so bettor beware). 

That being said, we’ll still take the Steelers as short home dogs, though we’ll likely have more money tied up with them in teasers just in case.

Pick: Steelers + 2

Femi Abebefe: I know, I know, the Patriots offense looked absolutely dreadful last week in a loss to the Dolphins. However, when you look at the box score, the Patriots were much more competitive than the final score suggests.

On the other side, you have a Steelers team that needed five Bengals turnovers to pull off an overtime win against their AFC North rivals. A win is a win, but you won’t find a more fraudulent win in Week 1 than the Steelers over the Bengals. Pittsburgh was outgained 432 to 267 and only had 13 first downs in a game that went deep into overtime.

In addition to not looking great, the Steelers lost the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt, to a pectoral injury for at least six weeks. Watt is one of the NFL’s elite defenders and his loss impacts the spread.

For the Patriots, the injury report came up positive as it appears they avoided an injury scare with second-year quarterback Mac Jones. Despite having to lay points, I’m getting the better coach and the better quarterback in what should be a close game. Give me the Pats at any number under a field goal.

Pick: Patriots -2

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-10, 46.5)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: What is it with the Falcons and big leads, even with Matt Ryan gone? The Falcons led the Saints 16-7 at halftime and 23-10 midway through the third quarter, but they squandered the lead and lost 27-26 (though they still covered as 5.5-point dogs). 

However, the Falcons at least showed they’re going to be more competitive than expected and not at the very bottom of the league as a lot of people were predicting. Even while Marcus Mariota was riding the bench the past few years with the Raiders, I always suspected he might still have a chance to be among the top half of the QBs in the league. 

I might not put him there yet, but he should be able to keep the Falcons within double digits against a Rams team that didn’t look so sharp in the opener (granted, it was against the Bills).

Pick: Falcons + 10.5 (Wynn)

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-8.5, 41)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: This was an early lean of mine that I gave out on “The Greg Peterson Experience” on Sunday night/Monday morning. I was originally just fading Trey Lance and I’m not alone, even at this network (Michael Lombardi, Mitch Moss, etc.), in saying he wasn’t ready to take over the 49ers’ starting QB job. 

I liked it even more after the Seahawks went toe-to-toe with the Broncos on Monday night in a 17-16 upset win. Considering the lines have gotten shorter on my other early leans, this is probably my favorite play of the week. 

Geno Smith, who filled in admirably for Russell Wilson last season when WIlson was injured, looked comfortable in the starting role and there’s no reason to think he can’t keep the Seahawks in this game versus Lance.

Pick: Seahawks + 8.5

Cincinnati Bengals (-7, 42) at Dallas Cowboys

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: There will be a lot of people laying this big price with the Bengals. Joe Burrow had an out-of-body experience in Week 1 with four interceptions, including a pick-six to open the game. Burrow was under duress a ton, absorbing seven sacks from a Steelers defense out to prove a point.

The Cowboys don’t have that same kind of pass rush. In fact, there are concerns in the trenches for Dallas — on both sides of the ball. The big story will be Cooper Rush, but Dak Prescott was not protected well, and the Tampa Bay offense was able to run the ball effectively against the Dallas front. The Bengals won’t have too many favorable matchups in the trenches if their offensive line additions don’t start to jell, but this should be one.

Rush will have to keep pace with a dynamic skill group and a QB in Burrow who still threw for 338 yards despite a rough game. Getting through 3 and 7 with a teaser in a low-totaled game is all you can really ask for, and that’s what we have here by pairing the Bengals with the Saints.

Pick: Bengals -1/Saints + 8.5 Teaser

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos (-10, 46)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Jeff Parles: The Broncos’ Week 1 failures were there for everyone to see on Monday night. Two goal-line fumbles and a clock- and game-management fiasco by Nathaniel Hackett caused the Broncos to blow a game in Seattle that they had no business losing. Russell Wilson played well against a mediocre defense and gets to face another mediocre defense in his Denver home debut. 

The Texans thoroughly outplayed the Colts for three quarters and then imploded in the fourth, leading to a 20-20 tie in Lovie Smith’s debut. Davis Mills was effective, but an Indianapolis defense without Shaquille Leonard isn’t as good as the Denver defense he’ll see on Sunday.

This feels like a great bounce-back spot for the Broncos. Even on a short week, drawing Houston is as easy of a matchup as they could hope for. Expect Wilson to have a big day and the Denver defense to feast. 

Pick: Broncos -10

Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders (-5.5, 51.5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Femi Abebefe: When all is said and done, I would like these words to be donned across my grave: “Couldn’t stop betting the Cardinals.” Last week, Arizona (and I) took it on the chin as the Chiefs offense went 6-for-6 in the red zone and ran the Cardinals off the field.

With that said, I’m hoping this will serve as a classic buy-low spot for the Cards. One thing that concerns me is there was heavy betting against the Cardinals last week and also early this week, with the line opening 3 and moving to 5.5 about a day later. It’s never a great feeling to go against a move in the most efficient betting market in North America, but here we are.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think last week was more about how well the Chiefs played and less about how poorly the Cardinals looked. Also, Arizona is getting healthier with defensive lineman J.J. Watt expected to make his 2022 regular-season debut. Coupling that with a few Raiders starters popping up on the injury list leads me to believe this line is a little inflated.

Pick: Cardinals + 5.5

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-9.5, 41.5)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

Brady Kannon: Aaron Rodgers is 27-12 ATS in division games at home. The Packers are 18-5 ATS versus the Bears since 2011. They are also 9-0 SU and ATS under Matt LaFleur when coming off of a loss in the regular season. And Rodgers is 12-2 SU and ATS in home openers since 2008.

It’s the same thing the last few years, right? Look horrible in Week 1, then go on to win 13 games.

This play is a combination of the Packers getting healthier on the offensive line and the Bears being a pretty bad team. The Packers were very successful rushing the ball last week against the Vikings. The Bears can't stop the run and were one of the very worst at doing so last season. Green Bay will be able to establish a successful running game, which ought to take some of the pressure off of Rodgers and his new receivers and help them in their effort to connect.

Chicago averaged an NFL-low 2.9 yards per play on first down in Week 1 and completed only eight passes. The first half of that game looked exactly like we expected. Trey Lance missed some throws and made some great ones. Justin Fields was running for his life. Very low-scoring. San Francisco looked like it would win it with its running game and defense. And then the monsoon came. 

Crazy weather is not in play this week, so I believe this Bears game will play out as expected in Green Bay.

Packers -9.5

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